In some cases, telenovelas magnify the stereotypical characteristics given to people in various races, nationalities, genders, occupations, etc. In my telenovela La Reina del Sur, this is especially true. The men are depicted as very macho, especially the leading characters, while the women are generally weaker and more naive. Occupations also define the characters, for example, El Colonel is very commanding, macho, and respectable, however Dris, the club owner, is very sneaky, maniacal, and not at all to be respected. Nationalities are also magnified through the personalities of the characters. Teresa is portrayed as a hot tempered mexican, a stereotype often placed on people from her country. In many cases the telenovela uses the magnification of these stereotypes to increase the drama of the story.
Although telenovelas like La Reina del Sur place stereotypes on their characters, they also challenge some of them as well. El Colonel is a general from Morocco, and a muslim. The islamic culture is portrayed in the telenovela when Teresa and Fatima visit Morocco to bring Fatima's son to Spain. Although the islamic culture is usually portrayed as very demeaning of women and an extremely patriarchal society, El Colonel is different. He shows great respect to Teresa and even values her as an advisor on several occasions. Telenovelas also challenge the stereotypical role of a women. Teresa is shown as strong and on some occasions more "macho" than Santiago. Creating a character like Teresa also breaks the stereotype of the typical telenovela, it creates a new vision of a female protagonist in a spanish telenovela. La Reina del Sur uses this new idea of a woman to set itself apart from the average telenovela.